Transformation a burning issue
Time for all stakeholders to help with meaningful change
TRANSFORMATION of South Africa’s property sector is a burning issue among sector stakeholders, and both the government and private sectors need to do more to address it.
Opportunities for decisive and meaningful transformation strides are available, but still more is needed.
“Opportunity without educational knowledge is setting black people up for failure,” says Toza Macozoma, vice chairman of the Youth in Property Association.
This is where government and private property companies should step in.
“Government bursaries are the easiest way, but if we want more property students, industry needs to give more too.”
Macozoma says a career in property does not draw black students who seek jobs with more status as lawyers, doctors and chartered accountants.
Less than 30% of property studies students at UCT are black, and of those only 10% will go on to work in the industry.
“This creates a lag in transformation and awareness of the profession can also be blamed. Formalising the profession will add some stature.”
Macozoma says the government, in charge of implementing and regulating the country’s transformation agenda, should offer “more rewarding” incentives – like tax breaks – for companies that comply. By the same token, there should also be punitive measures for non-compliance.
“There needs to be more help to get black people on an equal footing because without that, they will never be able to reach their full potential.”
The Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa ( IEASA) “keenly supports transformation in any way”, says chairman Gary Nichols. Youth is where this transformation will be seen. However, the barriers to entry – including no basic salary and agents requiring their own cellphones, laptops, and cars – still present problems in the transformation agenda.
Jan Tladi, of the Estate Agencies Affairs Board, says there is still “a long way to go” to transform the industry.
“We want to create a representative property market (but) about 17% of the total estate agents are from the previously disadvantaged population. We want to create a conducive environment for this.
“The size of the property market is massive. The cake is big and it is currently shared by only a few.”
However, Tladi says it should not be the board’s exclusive responsibility to transform the industry but, that is should rather be an “inclusive process” undertaken by all rel- evant stakeholders.
“It should not be the responsibility of the regulator alone.”
New legislation, such as the Property Practitioners Bill, is also needed, he says, explaining that South Africa’s recent history has shown markets cannot regulate themselves. The Bill needs to a chapter that deals purely with transformation and “each and every” property practitioner must comply with the code.
“The other thing is compelling the government to use registered estate agents when procuring goods and services. They must also use registered property practitioners who are complying with BEE.”
Regarding the issue of encouraging students to embark on careers in property, Tladi says the estate agents board is planning an incubation programme for black practitioners who do not have experience. Its aim is to place them under mentorship and equip them with the tools needed.
The programme also aims to sustain them financially while they are learning as the field is commission-based.
Board marketing manager Margie Campbell emphasises though that it is “imperative” that the 12-month internships and qualification criteria for new agents remain.
“It is also imperative for them to have cellphones, cars and laptops. We need to find a way for them to have these things and the qualifications as because they need them. But we also need it to not be a barrier for entry as we cannot bypass them.”
Vice-chair of the Youth in Property Association, Toza Macozoma.